Diastema - Oliver Schneller International Festival of Contemporary Music Warsaw Autumn

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The spine of this piece is an irregularly serrated shape formed by the succession of 22 interconnected points. Each point on this jagged line represents the fundamental of a chord and the spatial distance between the points corresponds to the intervallic distance between the fundamentals. Many structural parameters are scaled to this shape: the tempi and proportions of the piece, the density of polyphonic activity, even the rhythmic and melodic patterns that weave together the often fragile fabric between the 22 different chords built on these fundamentals. Hence a fixed basic succession of intervals permeates and informs the piece on many levels: the interval of distance in space or time, of pitch, of densities, of sound colour change, of pulse-presence, continuity and discontinuity. Throughout the piece appear a number of immutable objects that by virtue of their recurrence orient the progression of the form in memory. 

In this world, there are two times. There is mechanical time and there is body time. The first is as rigid and metallic as a massive pendulum of iron that swings back and forth. The second squirms and wriggles like a bluefish in a bay. The first is unyielding, predetermined. The second makes up its mind as it goes along. ... This is a stretch of nerve fibers: seemingly continuous from a distance but disjointed close up, with microscopic gaps between fibers. Nervous action flows through one segment of time, abruptly stops, pauses, leaps through vacuum, and resumes in the neighbouring segment. ...So tiny are the disconnections in time that the gaps between segments are practically imperceptible. After each restart of time, the new world looks just like the old. (Alan Lightman, Einstein Dreams, 1993) 

Oliver Schneller